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    Puszcza Niepołomice: From Fourth Division to the Polish Elite

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Puszcza Niepołomice, a small club from a town of just over sixteen thousand inhabitants, has achieved a historic milestone in its centenary existence by securing a place in the prestigious PKO Ekstraklasa. The journey to the top level was a gradual process marked by determination and careful preparation under the guidance of coach Tomasz Tułacz.

    A Path to Success

    Fifteen years ago, Puszcza Niepołomice competed in the fourth division, but the club began its ascent to the highest echelons of Polish football. After achieving promotion to the third division in 2008, they consistently performed well, culminating in winning the league in their second season. Notable players such as Marcin Bojarski, Tomasz Księżyc, Tomasz Moskała, and Krzysztof Radwański joined the team upon their promotion to the second division.

    Although Puszcza Niepołomice faced challenges along the way, including relegation from the first league, they remained steadfast and focused on their goal. Stability, under the guidance of coach Tułacz, became their main advantage. Despite occasional weaker seasons, the team continued to progress and evolve, ultimately earning a well-deserved promotion to the PKO Ekstraklasa.

    Tułacz’s Impact

    Coach Tułacz, a former youth national team player, took over the team in 2015 and obtained his UEFA Pro license in early 2016. The team’s initial objective was to avoid relegation, but they quickly surpassed expectations, securing a promotion to the second division. Tułacz’s tenure has seen a significant turnover in players, with only one remaining from the 2017/2018 season.

    In their first season in the first league, Puszcza Niepołomice finished 12th, followed by a 9th-place finish in the second season. While narrowly missing out on the promotion playoffs in the third season, they managed to maintain their position in the league. Despite subsequent 13th and 14th place finishes, the club demonstrated faith in Tułacz, a decision that paid off as they secured promotion to the PKO Ekstraklasa in the following year.

    Puszcza Niepołomice’s ascent to the PKO Ekstraklasa came as a surprise to many, considering their modest resources. However, their consistent performances throughout the 1st league season established them as a competitive force. Remarkably, they held a top position for most of the season, with only a brief interruption. Overcoming the odds, they emerged victorious in the promotion playoffs, defeating Wisła and Termalica.

    Embracing the Challenge

    As they enter the PKO Ekstraklasa, Puszcza Niepołomice will likely be considered relegation candidates. However, much will depend on their summer transfers. Prudent and thoughtful recruitment, similar to the approach taken by Warta Poznań three years ago, could provide a blueprint for success. Despite not playing on their home ground, Puszcza’s ability to adapt


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